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For example "You saved me the trouble by keeping my badge". How can I express the same sentiment in French?

Would this be a good solution?

Vous m’avez fait économiser le problème par garder mon badge.

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Could you explain what you mean by that in English ? Especially, what's the trouble you've been saved from ? –  Nikana Reklawyks Nov 19 '12 at 1:11
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I would say:

Vous m'avez épargné (ou évité) un problème (en gardant mon badge).

Or maybe (but less natural):

Vous m'avez fait l'économie d'un problème.

More generally:

Vous me sortez de l'embarras.

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In the context of the question, I think the 'trouble' is less 'problem' than 'work' or 'effort' (peine?). –  Benjol May 15 '12 at 9:33
-1 @Benjol is right and this answer is incorrect. –  Phong May 16 '12 at 20:50
@Benjol: As far as I know, trouble means a thousand things. And I'm surprised that there's only 6 entries on Wikitionary. I'm just using the meaning provided by the OP himself… –  Stéphane Gimenez May 16 '12 at 21:22
The OP clearly doesn't know the meaning and is only providing a literal translation, asking whether it is correct. Given this context, you cannot base your response on that. The word "trouble" in "save me the trouble" never has the meaning of "problem". –  Phong May 16 '12 at 21:59
@Phong: True, but I think that he perfectly understands what is the meaning of the word “problème”, and that he refers to the effort needed to solve one. If you don't think so, be constructive and ask him! –  Stéphane Gimenez May 16 '12 at 22:23
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If the meaning is “If you hadn't kept my badge, then I would have had some trouble” (which I would express in English with “You saved me some trouble by keeping my badge”) — for example, if you hadn't kept my badge, then I would have had to pay and spend some time to renew it — then in French, I would use the word ennui. In this sense, ennui is not related to boredom, it means difficulties, trouble. Ennui is more idiomatic than problème or difficulté when the nature of the problem(s) is not specified, especially when there are multiple problems.

Vous m'avez évité des ennuis en gardant mon badge.

If the meaning of “trouble” here is a small extra burden (“If you hadn't kept my badge, I would have had to spend five minutes getting a new one”), then ennui isn't the right word. You can say

Vous m'avez épargné une corvée.

(You saved me from a chore.)

Économiser is not a good fit here. It can be a translation of save in a financial context, and it can be used with words such as effort, but not with trouble.

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"Vous m'avez épargné la peine de perdre mon badge."

It seems to me the more casual translation. The idiom "s'épargner la peine de ..." is usually followed by some kind of long task ("peine" taking in this context the meaning of "effort", not "douleur") but it can also, like here, refer to something just frustrating, disappointing or sad.

I hope the following will not be seen as an offense but I must say the first translation, at the bottom of the OP, looks just like plain, untouched google-bred. Is it not ?

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Vous m'avez épargné la peine de perdre mon badge. This is not a translation of the sentence in the question. It means “you saved me the trouble of losing my badge”, i.e. you lost my badge for me. –  Gilles Jun 3 '12 at 23:49
I fail to understand why it could mean to you "You lost my badge for me." It simply states that you helped me to avoid this loss... Let's try another example maybe : "Merci d'avoir averti le professeur de mon absence. Vous m'avez épargné la peine de faire le déplacement." It seems to me a very clear and polite way to express the very idea of the OP, "saving someone the trouble of something". –  Romain VALERI Jun 4 '12 at 7:56
« Vous m'avez épargné la peine de perdre mon badge » implique que perdre mon badge est une corvée, ce qui est pour le moins incongru. « Vous m'avez épargné la peine de faire le déplacement » implique que faire le déplacement est une corvée, ce qui n'est pas étonnant. –  Gilles Jun 4 '12 at 18:11
Ma proposition était peut-être en effet sujette à interprétation. La polysémie du mot "peine" (fatigue/effort ou bien chagrin/contrariété) pourra, selon le contexte, en faire un bon ou un mauvais choix de traduction. –  Romain VALERI Jun 5 '12 at 7:46
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